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Herding Dog Breeds

Herding dogs were originally bred for their herding instinct and decision-making capabilities. Shepherds found that certain types could handle certain jobs better than others, so diversity was welcomed in the herding breeds.

Herding dogs are independent thinkers, and will find ways of rescuing strays on their own and even disobey orders to come home if there is a threat to the flock. Their protective instincts and sharp minds make them ideal service dogs. These breeds can be found working alongside the military, police, or as assistance dogs.

Although they love to play and serve, they can be just as content with a quiet, indoor life. They make strong bonds with people and crave human interaction.

Australian Cattle Dog
Size: Medium, female 17-19”, males 18-20”
Color: Red speckled, blue, blue mottled
Protection level: High
Energy level: High, calms down after age 5-6
Life expectancy: 10 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with them
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, flyball, obedience
Shedding: Yes, heavier seasonally
Grooming: Brush every day
Potential health concerns: PRA, HD, OCD, deafness, lens luxation, glaucoma
Recommended health clearances: OFA, BAER, CERF
Best with: activities suited to its instincts, confident, active owners, obedience training, early socialization
Not for: Apartment life, first time dog owners, kids under 5, inactivity, submissive people

Australian Shepherd
Size: Medium, female 18-23”, 45-65 lbs.
Color: Black, red, blue merle, red (liver) merle, all with or without copper and/ or tan markings
Protection level: High
Energy level: Medium to high
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with early socialization
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, flyball, obedience, freestyle, tracking, search and rescue
Shedding: Heavy seasonally
Grooming: Brush and comb once a week, especially during shed
Potential health concerns: PRA, HD, Collie Eye Anomaly, microphthalmia, epilepsy, glaucoma
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Fenced yards, obedience training, active owners, daily chores
Not for: Backyard life, inactive people, apartments

Bearded Collie
Size: Medium, female 20-21”, 40-45 lbs, males 21-22”, 50-60 lbs.
Color: Blue, fawn, black, brown, usually with white markings
Protection level: Almost non-existent
Energy level: Medium to high
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Good with children: Yes, but can be a little energetic for young kids
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, therapy, obedience
Shedding: Minimal
Grooming: Brush and comb once a week (takes 30 min. to 1 hours)
Potential health concerns: Cataracts, HD, hypothyroidism, SAS, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, Addison’s Disease
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Lots of human interaction, regular grooming, sense of humor, activities
Not for: Backyard life, lazy groomers, robotic obedience, perfectionists

Belgian Malinois
Size: Medium to large, female 22-24”, 50-60 lbs, males 24-26”, 55-75 lbs.
Color: Fawn to mahogany, with black mask and ears
Protection level: High
Energy level: High
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with them
Performance abilities: Herding, service fields, freestyle, tracking, obedience
Shedding: Yes
Grooming: Minimal
Potential health concerns: Cataracts, HD, hypothyroidism, PRA, epilepsy, pannus
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Interaction, regular exercise, early training and socialization
Not for: Isolation, inexperienced handlers

Belgian Sheepdog
Size: Medium to large, female 22-24”, 40-60 lbs, males 25-26”, 50-75 lbs.
Color: Black
Protection level: Medium to high
Energy level: High
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with them
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, therapy, flyball, obedience
Shedding: Heavy- it gets everywhere!
Grooming: Brush once a week
Potential health concerns: Cataracts, HD, hypothyroidism, PRA, epilepsy, pannus
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Interaction, early and regular training and socialization
Not for: Isolation, impatient owners, harsh disciplinarians, neat freaks

Belgian Tervuren
Size: Medium to large, female 22-24”, 45-60 lbs, males 24-26”, 65-80 lbs.
Color: Fawn to mahogany with black overlay
Protection level: High, but not aggressive
Energy level: High
Life expectancy: 10-14 years
Good with children: Yes, with considerate kids
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, scent hurdle
Shedding: Seasonal, heavy
Grooming: Brush once a week, more during shed
Potential health concerns: Cataracts, HD and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Training and quality time, active, confident people, early socialization
Not for: Small children, neat freaks, first time dog-owners

Border Collie
Size: Medium, female 18-20”, 30-45 lbs
Color: Black, chocolate, red, and blue, with or without white markings and merling
Protection level: Medium to high
Energy level: High
Life expectancy: 13 years
Good with children: Depends on the dog
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, freestyle, therapy
Shedding: Yes
Grooming: Minimal
Potential health concerns: Cataracts and other eye problems, HD, epilepsy, seizures, paralysis, OCD, PRA
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF, BAER
Best with: Regular exercise, obedience, a job to do
Not for: Inactive people, small kids, boredom

Bouvier des Flandres
Size: Large, female 23.5-26.5”, males 24.5-27.5”, 65-130 lbs
Color: Fawn to black, salt and pepper, brindle and gray
Protection level: High, especially protective of loved ones
Energy level: Medium to high
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with them
Performance abilities: Carting, service fields, herding, obedience
Shedding: Minimal
Grooming: Hand-stripping with some scissoring, brushing and combing
Potential health concerns: Cataracts, HD, torsion, cancerous tumours, hypothyroidism, entropion, laryngeal paralysis, glaucoma
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Early training, big fenced yards, gentle but firm handling, strong, confident owners
Not for: Submissive people, lazy groomers, cramped living area with no exercise, warm or humid climates

Briard
Size: Large, female 22-25.5”, males 23-27”, 65-85 lbs
Color: Tawny, black, gray
Protection level: High, especially protective of loved ones
Energy level: High
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with them
Performance abilities: Herding, agility
Shedding: Yes
Grooming: Brush once a week; puppies daily
Potential health concerns: Bloat, HD, hypothyroidism, PRA, eye anomalies, retinal degeneration
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Early training and socialization, confident owners
Not for: Loners, small kids

Canaan Dog
Size: Medium, female 35”, males 50-55 lbs, 19-24”
Color: White with black, brown, or red markings; brown, with or without white markings
Protection level: Alert watchdog
Energy level: Moderate
Life expectancy: 13-15 years
Good with children: Yes, if raised with them
Performance abilities: Herding, search and rescue, tracking, therapy
Shedding: Yes
Grooming: Brush regularly
Potential health concerns: PRA, HD
Recommended health clearances: OFA, CERF
Best with: Fenced yards, human interaction, early socialization
Not for: Perfect obedience, universal acceptance of people, harsh handling, people who don’t want an independent-minded dog

Collie (Rough and Smooth)
Size: Medium to large, female 22-24”, 50-65 lbs, males 24-26”, 60-75 lbs.
Color: White and sable, tricolor, blue merle, white
Protection level: Low to medium, will bark
Energy level: Medium
Life expectancy: 12 years
Good with children: Excellent, though has a tendency to herd
Performance abilities: Herding, agility, therapy, obedience
Shedding: Seasonal
Grooming: Brush once a week
Potential health concerns: PRA, PDA, hypothyroidism, Collie eye anomaly (check by 8 weeks), epilepsy, dermatomyositis
Recommended health clearances: CERF
Best with: Close relationship with family
Not for: Isolation, harsh handling, protection

German Shepherd Dog
Size: Large, female 22-24”, 60-70 lbs, males 24-26”, 75-95 lbs.
Color: Black, sable, black and tan
Protection level: High, doesn’t back down from perceived threats to owner or property
Energy level: Medium, good stamina
Life expectancy: 12 years
Good with children: Excellent, from well-bred lines
Performance abilities: Herding, service fields, obedience
Shedding: Heavy
Grooming: Brush a lot; use a rake and comb during shed
Potential health concerns: OCD, HD and elbow dysplasia, bloat and torsion, pannus and other eye problems, perianal fistulas, pancreatitis, diabetes
Recommended health clearances: CERF, OFA
Best with: Obedience, human contact, a high-power vacuum cleaner, fenced yards
Not for: Isolation, inactive breeders, neat freaks, robotic obedience

Old English Sheepdog
Size: Large, female 21+”, males 22+”, 70-100 lbs.
Color: Grizzle, blue, gray, blue merle, with or without white
Protection level: High; loud bark, can be tough when pushed
Energy level: Medium as adults
Life expectancy: 12-13 years
Good with children: Sometimes bossy and can be rough
Performance abilities: Herding, flyball, obedience
Shedding: Minimal, if properly groomed
Grooming: Lots of work or expense
Potential health concerns: Glaucoma, PRA, HD, diabetes, cataracts, deafness, wobblers, hypothyroidism, entropion

 

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